Entries Tagged as 'Politics'

North Carolina Deficit Will Not Be Fixed By a Sin Tax

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 18:  Governor of North Ca...

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Seriously. Who is the governor kidding? A sin tax?
Come on now. I’ve read that our anticipated deficit for this year will be somewhere around two billion. But when you want to balance a budget, you have to fix the issues that are currently at hand, not throw more crazy ideas into the pot to stir things up.
Here’s a few problems right off the bat that I see could use a little tweaking. Why does it cost on average fifty-four thousand dollars a year per student to fund public education when it costs less than twenty thousand for a private education? And interestingly enough private schools seem to usually do better overall. If I remember correctly growing up, Lakeside (private school) cost around that figure and actually had a higher percentage of students going to Ivy leagues along with one hundred percent college bound. Interesting.
Another fun little thing that could instantly produce an extraordinary amount of money through citations would be the tint and license plate cover laws. I have yet to see it being enforced since it’s actually under the jurisdiction of the DMV from what I’m told, but there are plenty of people still driving around with illegal tint and covers on their license plates that is against State Code. I’ve also seen weighted commercial plates on trucks that most definitely are not commercial use. Fine, fine, fine.
Maybe speeding tickets should be thrown on the table too and we should copy legislation from Virginia. At about a thousand dollars a pop, there’s very little incentive to speed in Virginia. And if money is what you’re after then alcohol and cigarettes don’t even come close to the amount that speeding would nail. Five cents a beer versus a whopping one thousand a ticket? Somehow I think hiring more State Troopers would win out over this one.
Overall, there are many things that we are not fixing and a lot of pet projects that are not being cut in favor of this sin tax. What else is that it seems the political play is to make it sound like we’re cutting the education for our youth and all of these “needy” programs instead of the ones that actually are not needs based.
While the above are but a few of the more interesting perspectives of how to fix this crazy political nightmare, I have no love for this tax of things that I don’t even purchase. It just sounds poorly thought out and having no merit when there are bigger things to try.

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Not understanding bailout politics

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 21: U.S. Sen. Charles Sch...

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Here’s the deal. Where exactly are these bailouts going? I think that overall, Washington is missing the point of the matter. We keep bolstering large corporate structures to “provide, provide, provide” with lower interest rates, better loans, and everything.
But the real problem? Before, the problem was half the problem of the lenders by giving out “toxic” loans, and the other half were borrowers that were getting into loans they couldn’t afford or could barely afford. That’s an issue of financial responsibility.
Now the problem has changed. It was complicated before, but it’s even more so now because the effect is shown with the stock market and how corporations are responding. With unemployment at a high and layoff forecasts not getting any better in the short term, the Treasury and the federal government needs to stop a second and take a look at the big picture.
Our president has come out and said that the stimulus will be judged by job creation, but I just don’t see that happening. Technology is one of the movers and shakers of Wall Street and if you view just that category specifically, most large technology corporations are all in a hiring freeze and dropping serious attrition numbers in both last quarter and this quarter. This in turn will start the vicious cycle of having consumers stop “consuming” which will put them in a savings mode and thus break down retail. At this point? A tax credit for homebuyers isn’t going to cut it, nor will tax cuts. Let’s face the awful fact:
You can’t take advantage of the best sale in the world, if you have no money in your wallet.
And that’s the crisis that we Americans face, as do many others globally. A consumer culture meltdown with billions of taxpayer dollars thrown at the wrong areas. Tax cuts don’t work, mainly because to pay taxes? You have to actually be employed and something actually is going into your wallet from the sweat equity. So when House Speaker Pelosi is criticizing the Senate (whom is also pushing tax cuts) on cutting the money to build schools, I have to wonder what exactly the House Speaker is pushing. I mean, it’s a stimulus plan to help Americans back on their feet, not a “build our future” plan. The fact that the Democrats are pushing for these pet projects on this bill just sickens me.
While I’m thinking about it, the Republicans criticizing the current stimulus plan are not out of the hot seat either. Why? Most of these politicians are the same ones from before the White House administration change. Less we forget, the last bailout plan had a bunch of pet projects that didn’t support the so-called “small businesses are being hurt” type defense. No one is paying here, except really the taxpayers that are fearing for their jobs, or cannot find a replacement.
In the end, the solution to the problem is to provide financial stability to consumers. That means job creation, or perhaps grants or funds to help small businesses expand. Until you put money in the wallets of your taxpayers, they can’t pay taxes nor can they stimulate consumerism. And isn’t that what the entire toxic loans were all about? We just need to address the problems in a LIFO perspective and work backwards as each issue is solved. That’s the only way to ever get out of this mess.

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US corporations operating tax havens

The tax haven called Monaco

Image by nanand81 via Flickr

Tax havens.
One of those legal, but totally unethical things to play with when you’re running any sort of business, but especially one as large as the ones mentioned in the Washington Post article.
What’s really annoying with this is that it should be pretty obvious if the income is being shifted around with audits of books regardless of how PR people try to say they “operate” in those locales. The problem with this is that the government loses out on billions of dollars a year in tax revenue. In turn, this becomes a burden for the average taxpayer. Talk about unethical.
But that’s not all! Oh no. It seems that several of the latest “financial bailout” corporations also operate these tax havens. This means that while the taxpayers are fronting the bill for these corporations to exist, they’re not even doing their due diligence as American corporations by paying our own taxes. And that’s just terrible.
Is there going to be a way to shut these legal loopholes down? We’ll see. The President-elect seems to think that they will but somehow I think that corporate pressure will throw its own weight. Let’s be honest here. The people that have the most money play the power plays and the rest of us are left footing the bill.

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Democrat governors want bailout too

The Financial Bailout

Image by urbanjacksonville via Flickr

It seems like the Democratic governors of five major states are asking for over $1 TRILLION dollars in federal assistance.
I mean, seriously? This bailout business is becoming ridiculous.
Here’s the thing. Governments are known to be the worst in budget spending. Thus, there’s a lot of inefficiency and fat that can be cut in both process and red tape. Obviously there are probably pet projects that can be cut also that are usually put in by people just as in the federal government there are “earmark” projects.
This just strikes a nasty chord with me on a personal level. For one, these governors are looking out for their coffers, rather than looking out for the raised taxes that everyone would have to pay. Sure, just pile on when the debt is spread out to the rest of the country, but I surely doubt they would have tried to pull this fast one if they could only go to their own state citizens for the money. Seems to me that corporate greed has filtered into our governments too where they’re looking for the taxpayer to bail them out.
And that’s just not good. We keep throwing money at a problem instead of fixing the actual problem. It goes back to why AIG can make the ridiculous claims it did after taking bailout money.
In the end as an Independent voter, this really annoys me. Mainly because we had voted out the Republican party on the federal level because of this type of behavior just to replace them with a different wolf in the same sheep’s clothing. And our little taxpayer’s house still keeps being threatened to be blown down.

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Updated: More statistics that supports why North Carolina won’t might swing blue

nc2004election.jpg While I’ve already gone over this once before, it doesn’t hurt to point out some more mathematics based on pure statistics and trends.
First, electoral votes are based which counties go where. As far as presidential candidacies goes, it’s always based on electoral votes, not popularity so the amount of new voters doesn’t actually effect your overall statistics, if your overall was already strong in the places where the new voters wouldn’t swing around anyways.
If you take a look at CNN’s presidential election of 2004, you can see that North Carolina’s votes determine the true turnout of how this state is set up. If you take all of the white counties (which would be neutral counties where the contest was pretty even), and turned them all blue, you still would be in the minority when it came to taking the state. On top of this pretty obvious position, even if you were to add all of the urban counties in that did not vote blue before, you still wouldn’t have enough to take majority.
Unfortunately, that also means that to swing this state at all, you would need to be campaigning in small, rural counties that have historically in the past few decades bled red.
Based on pure statistics and historical trend, the likelihood of North Carolina being even considered a swing state is an unlikely one. Which makes me wonder how accurate the polls are elsewhere since all it took was sitting down and understanding how the state was broken down and how the voting process works. No wonder right wingers claim that mainstream media slants left. I personally still watch CNN, but this bit does degrade my trust in them a bit.
Update: I’m told that electoral votes are based on popular votes. Well I’ll be damned. If that’s the case, then I really don’t see what the big whoopie is about people being against electoral votes. Unless the elector doesn’t vote with popular vote. I still don’t believe NC will swing, but the probability becomes a lot larger from a mathematical stand point. The place where it fails is the historical trend data pulls it to the red still from a predictability factor.

Democrats using directory assistance robocalls in North Carolina

directoryassistance.jpg Received a rather annoying robocall from Congressman Brad Miller (District 13 – NC) shilling for Obama. First, it was annoying because of two things. The first is that I know Brad Miller, and I actually like the guy, but this tactic was just pathetic and it interrupted my work since they called a “business” line.
But the second even peeved me off even more. The number that was calling came from Directory Assistance. Oh yes. (919) 555-1252. Now whether or not this was a spoofed number or not, whomever approved this should not only be fired, but thrown in jail.
Why? Well, for one. As a business, I shouldn’t be getting political calls since you interrupt my work for your speech? Call my house. If you bust up my work business, I should have the opportunity to charge you my hourly rate for screwing up my workflow. The second is that if you use directory assistance, then that’s just false advertising. Political calls shouldn’t be coming from here, and if you’re spoofing the caller ID, then you’re actually committing a crime. Interruption of business, is a big huge no-no.
Either way? Very disappointed that Miller’s staff allowed this to even happen. For shame, for shame.

North Carolina is NOT a swing state

I don’t know why CNN and the rest of mainstream media keep pushing poll numbers with McCain trailing and with Virginia and North Carolina as possible swing states.
Anyone that knows me well, knows which way I’ll vote in this election, but I find it amusing as hell that the rest of the nation has not had anyone look at historical voting trends within states. In fact, it’ll just be much more apparent in this election what was in the Bush/Kerry election of 2004.
First off, registering voters means… well… not too much when it comes to where it’s coming from. Most of the newly registered voters are in urban counties. Unfortunately, what pollsters are not accounting for is that urban counties only account for 10% of this state. That means that 90% of the counties are considered rural and the majority of them have a consistent history of voting red. Solid South, anyone?
On top of this, the last election proved that the counties with urban areas were all blue, but by slim margins. This time around with the new influx of voters, it might be greater margins in those counties but overall, Obama would still need to take the small towns. And that’s where the polls I have a feeling are inaccurate. Pollsters don’t bother with actual historical trends nor do they look at how geography divides up the states. They just go by wherever they call (which happens to be urban areas if you ever take a look at their dialing patterns).
Come November 4th, take a look at the state’s county divisions and if the state doesn’t go red, I’ll be seriously surprised. With three major military bases, and a strong Bible Belt backing, I can’t seriously even buy into the whole “North Carolina” is a swing state garbage. Propaganda at its finest.
Maybe I’ll just eat my words come election day. But unless NC bucks a huge trend they’ve set in the past, I don’t think it’ll happen. Not here.

The game that liberals and conservatives play

Here are two definitions that never stood well with me.
conservative – disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
liberal – open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.

Here’s my beef. Conservatives basically want their way to not be changed. The rock. The unmovable. There is obviously one way, and that’s the best way regardless of any new methodology. Liberals on the other hand want change. This way and that way, like water. While choice of path is everything, apparently there is no actual set thought.
So if this is the case, then why is it that when it comes around to guns, they flip sides? Suddenly conservatives want the right to bear arms, the choice. Liberals however push for a no gun equates to greatness type law. Basically, you get a sort of conservative liberal versus liberal conservative. Personally? It never made any sense to me.
I mean, these are the same people that hold down party lines and must have things a certain way. Guess on some issues, you can pick and choose if you want to be left or right even though the party stands for either left or right. It’s definitely crazy stuff.
Of course, I’ll never understand politics since it seems to just sway towards whomever will benefit the most instead of what would be morally or ethically correct. Go figure that one out.

Rate cuts keep giving traders that safety net

Rates were cut yet again in an effort to jump-start the economy. By both the Federal Reserve and some of the Central Banks.
I have to admit that while it’s definitely unheard of usually, but on the flip side, it just guarantees that everyone will just look out for cuts and try to predict the outcomes. Which is why the markets go up on the “prediction” news and down when they want more to happen.
If given enough times, we’ll just keep expecting federal bailouts and help. It’s like a grownup, asking help from mommy and daddy. Sure in the time of crisis, your parents are there to help but when all things are said and done, Wall Street is a big boy. They can handle it themselves.

Now, Bernanke’s message may have less power because traders already anticipated for weeks that policy makers would need to make that move, and because of rising concern even rate cuts may do little to immediately help banks scrambling to reduce their vulnerability to loan losses.

Interesting isn’t it? Seems like traders expect the bailouts, and expect rate cuts. And when it comes to the stock market? There shouldn’t be that sort of safety. It is after all a bull or bear market. Not one that’s like a greedy little piglet.
Photo Credit: (epicharmus)

Feds just don’t get it as they spiral economy into deeper hole

I really don’t get it.
Actually? Let me rephrase that thought. I really don’t get why the feds don’t get it.
And by that I mean, politicians (eg. Congress) that voted in that $700 bailout including another $150 billion in tax breaks via earmarks, and why they thought that it would fix anything as the DOW tanked and global markets keep tanking on any news they make.
Seriously. Get your hand out of the cookie jar. Right now. Not later, now.
Here’s the problem that they don’t seem to understand. Wall Street tanked because banks don’t want to be limited to the bailout money (which had restrictions) which in my opinion is basically because they’ve liked living outside of boundaries for too long. Hey, whatever. If they can survive, great. If not, tough cookies. Life cycle of corporations. But don’t forget that the we’re still in $850 billion in the hole.
Then there was the news that feds was going to buy US commercial paper and create a new federal paper facility where they back the financial institutions. That is an another expense that taxpapers eventually in some direct or indirect manner pays for.
Here’s the thing. Feds keep throwing around “X” billion or “Y” billion numbers back into whatever markets in hopes that it’ll actually do something while as taxpayers, we just eat the cost. But even a fifth grader would understand the basic principle of economics here.
If you already owe someone money, then spending more just means that you’re going to owe someone a lot more money.
And how that particular statement above doesn’t actually sink in, considering we’re reaching into the tens of trillions in debt is beyond me. The more you’re in debt, the less value the dollar is in global economics. And obviously since appointed individuals don’t seem to understand that, the American people have to be proactive in stopping the bleeding.
Otherwise, we’ll all be singing, “Hi ho a cheerio… down the toilet we…. go…”
Photo Credit: (freemarketmyass)